Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mr. Fahey

I feel bad when people die on holidays. But even more so when they die on or just before their birthday. I don't know why.

Today, we celebrate John Fahey's birthday. He would have been 69. He died six days before his 62nd birthday.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Bob Hite

Happy Birthday, Bob.

Bob Hite would have been 62 today, if he hadn't passed away on April 6, 1981.

I went on tour with Canned Heat. Eastern Canada. Dead of winter. Three weeks.

And I'm posting a youtube video because I can't find one single picture from the tour.

Should I still put the story in my book? Maybe with an original drawing by me?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Will You Still Love Me?

George Harrison would have been 64 today.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Papa John

Another post that was supposed to go up yesterday. Sorry, Papa John.

5/8/17 - 2/22/94

Please give a moment to honor his memory.


This was supposed to be posted yesterday. Sorry, John.

2/28/39 - 2/22/01

Since no one seems to go back into the archives, I thought I would reprint this John Fahey post from May 12, 2006:

I have a tendency toward being linear. As a screenwriter, I should get over my desire for things to follow in order. When I watched the movie Memento on DVD, I kept wanting to run it backwards. I loved the movie but it drove my brain crazy.

I'm sliding this little John Fahey post in between my Ghost - Part I and Ghost - Part II stories because that's how it happened. The day after my visit from Michael Bloomfield, I came across a sheet of negs labeled John Fahey. I was really excited to find them. Like, jumping up and down excited. I thought they were long gone.

And I was even more excited when I googled "John Fahey" and found out he was dead. I know that is a really horrible thing to say/write. Maybe the most horrible thing I have ever said/written. It makes me sound downright evil. Which I'm not. Honest. So, I take it back. Sort of. Okay, I'm really sorry he died. I want you to know, I had nothing to do with his death. I never wished him dead. And I don't own any voodoo dolls. May John Fahey rest in peace.

Now that I've repented, "Why would I be excited he died?" Because I have a great John Fahey story. And now I get to tell it. Well, I don't mean "now" as in right now, this second. I mean in the book. At this point, I'm guessing most of you are asking, "Who the hell is John Fahey?" When I got the emergency phone call that led to my John Fahey encounter, I only vaguely knew his name. Isn't he some guitar players guitar player type? Obscure but respected? Yeah, that's John Fahey. An amazing guitar player.

Okay. This might be a good time for you to learn a little about Mr. Fahey. Before I taint his shiny memory. It also gives me a chance to plug my loyal reader/commenter, fellow blogger, and new friend, Harry Funk. He writes for a paper in Pittsburgh and also blogs about music. He really knows his stuff. While you wait on the edge of your seat for my John Fahey story, you can learn more about him on Sir Harry Funk's blog here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Now, how can I taint his memory? By telling you that John Fahey was a pretty miserable guy. And as we all know, miserable characters make for good stories. Which means my John Fahey story must be good. And to prove it, I'll tease you with this: it involves an airplane, a drug deal and a dog...oh yeah, and me.

Let's see if you can figure that one out.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Today, I met Roger.

I found Roger by visiting a bookstore in Berkeley. I was scouring the bookstore for coffee table books in the music section. I found a bunch. The ones I liked the most were all printed in Asia. China to be exact.

One of the books I admired had the printing company listed. Probably because they also have a publishing arm, although at the time I didn't realize they were affiliated. I did a little research last week and found out they had a local office. I gave them a call and voila, I made the 20 minute drive to their office today.

And met Roger.

I liked Roger. We sat for a little over an hour and worked out the printing specs for Everybody I Shot Is Dead. The size options (thinking around 9.5 x 11.5), number of pages (somewhere between 152 and 200), paper choices (Korean, European or Japanese), cover materials (cloth or printed laminate), and quantity (3000 - 10,000), etc. And some time next week I will have an estimate of costs to manufacture the book.

Printing in China is a three month process, from the time I deliver my files to the day the books are delivered. I want the books no later than October 1. So, my drop dead date is July 1. I'm putting the deadline on my calendar for June 1. That gives me three to four months to design the layout, do the research and write. I better get to work.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Fun and Games

Haven't had a contest in a while, so here we go...

I found this picture today while I was scanning my Donny Hathaway photos for the book.

The first reader to identify all five people in this photo wins.

If no one gets all five people, the reader who gets the most right by February 28th wins.

Former Everybody I Shot Is Dead winners are not eligible (although you can send me a private email with the answers, if you think you're that smart, and I will announce the date you got it at the end of the contest).

Good Luck!

Prize to be determined by me.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Least Favorite Day Of The Year

February 15th

The day Mike Bloomfield died.

This is a picture he took of me.

You may not think it's a great picture, but it reflects how I feel today.

I miss you, Michael.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Birthday, Tim Buckley

Valentine baby Tim Buckley would have been 60 years old today. Wow.

Tim played a lot in Vancouver. I loved his shows. For some reason, I'm still mad at him for dying.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Waylon x 2

When my pictures are really good, I know I had a special connection with my subject. Such was the case with Waylon Jennings.

This particular shot of Waylon doesn't really reflect that connection - it's not the best one I took of him. It probably won't be in the book but I wanted to show you one of my in-the-camera double exposures. I also have a triple exposure of Waylon that will be in the book. I like it better than this one because his expressions tell more of a story.

In the meantime, take time out to honor Waylon Jennings. Today is the 5th anniversary of his death.

6/15/37 - 2/13/02

Sunday, February 11, 2007

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover?

Been busy the past few weeks on some design jobs (read: income) for the Berlin Film Festival. Now that they're officially done and gone, I'll try and find some time to put them in the Design section of my newly updated website. I haven't put any new movie posters up there for at least a couple of years.

The good news is...I have kept to my personal promise to work on Everybody I Shot Is Dead every single day. It's amazing how a little bit each day adds up. And keeping it on the front burner keeps my head in the game.

One thing that has been running around my brain since the very beginning is "What am I going to put on the cover?" Although, sometimes the question would start with the word "Who." But early on I decided putting one person on the cover wouldn't be fair to the musicians left off. What about putting everybody on the cover? I think it would be too cluttered. And, if you want your book to stand out against the thousands of books displayed on the store shelves, a cluttered cover is not the best idea.

I've been playing around with a few different ideas over the past few months. At one point, I thought I might make the book the same size as an LP and put a full-size photo of a record on the front. Hey, I could even drill a little hole through the center of the book. An okay idea, but a record doesn't represent the total scope of Everybody I Shot Is Dead for me. It only speaks to the time frame and music aspect of the book. Probably a good cover for a music review book.

I've also scoured the bookstores and internet to see what adorns other rock 'n' roll photography books. Here's some of what I found:

Just found this last one:
Well, that completely nixes my record idea.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was messing with the cover (actually, adjusting it to a more manageable 10.5" x 12.75" size) when I locked on to something. I was just playing around with some freehand Photoshop drawing. And in about ten minutes time, I came up with a symbol that I really like. So much so that I think it's going to be the cover. If not the cover, it will be the logo.

I can't show it to you needs some tweaking and I need to render it as a finished hi res drawing. But as soon as it's done, I will unveil it here. And soon after that it will be everywhere, branding Everybody I Shot Is Dead as more than just another pretty title. (Please notice my tongue in my cheek).

Any chance I can get some of you to comment on this topic? I know it's a pain in the ass to go to the comments and fill in your name (or anonymous) and figure out the secret code, but it would be really helpful to get your feedback. I am wondering... Do you initially judge a book by its cover? How about movies? Do you judge them by the poster? How important is the cover of a book to you? Have you ever bought a book because you were initially attracted by the cover? And any other opinion you may have on the topic. Please chime away. The only stupid comment is the one you don't make.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I Love Surprises...

...well, at least good surprises.

I was rewriting my script all morning and then decided I better put some time in on the book so I could tick another "Write on Everybody" off my calendar.

I checked the photo list and realized I didn't have any Muddy Waters photos scanned or filed. Where the heck are my Muddy Waters shots? I know I only shot him in black and white, but to get to the black and white negs, I had to walk by the slide boxes. I currently have two file boxes with slides and a bunch of envelopes with internegs that were made to print for clients and my portfolio way-back-when.

I separated all my color slides and internegs of my dead musicians into the second box almost a year ago. Or so I thought. I also thought I had filed and scanned everything from the dead people box. Anyway, on my way to the black and whites, I stopped by the live box to rummage around. I was happy to find a few of my best shots of Elton John in an interneg envelope because I have no idea where the original slides are. Then I found an envelope with Eagles internegs, and was surprised to find a bunch of unmounted slides in there too. Yeah.

My shocking find was some internegs that belonged in the other box...Stanley Turrentine, more Hank Snow, more Downchild Blues Band. Then I looked in the second box. The dead people box that I thought was completely harvested. Nope. I found more Beach Boys slides - including 6 of Carl Wilson, a couple of group shots and what I hope is a cool shot from behind the stage of the audience holding up lit matches. I scanned it but haven''t looked at it yet. I also found 12 color shots of Tim Buckley. And last but not least...lucky 13 color slides of a very hot Waylon Jennings. I'll be posting one of those on Tuesday (his D-day), followed by Tim Buckley on Wednesday (his B-day) and my sweet Michael Bloomfield on Thursday (another D-day). (February is a crowded month with 7 birthdays and 7 deathdays)

Then I came across a file folder with all the articles I wrote for a small local paper. Very helpful in figuring out the exact dates of some of my shots, since they were articles about upcoming concerts. I had no writing experience when I wrote the them so they suck, but I'm thinking about including the ones of my dead guys in the book.

And there are two articles I am going to post next week (hopefully) about a band I shot twice. The first time was their very first tour. The band became very big and my articles are pretty interesting because of the time perspective.

Oh, I almost forgot. I never made it to the black and whites. I'm wondering if I'm avoiding my search for Muddy Waters, in case his shots are gone.

Malcolm Roberts

Another musician you are probably not familiar with - I admit when I first saw the sheet of unmarked slides I wondered if I'd shot Andy Gibb. Of course not, the age of my subject was all wrong.

Malcolm Roberts was a British singer with a couple of hits. Hey, he even had/has a fan club. And I shot him. So, he shall be honored in Everybody I Shot Is Dead. And here today, as it is the fourth anniversary of his untimely death.

Malcolm Roberts
3/31/44 - 2/7/03

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Remember Carl Wilson

Nine years gone.

Carl Wilson
12/21/46 - 2/6/98

I so love The Beach Boys.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Alex Harvey Returns

On January 26, 2007, I scanned my 17 Alex Harvey slides. I knew his D-day and B-Day were coming up and I wanted to have a photo prepared. Then yesterday I put the tribute together for him to honor both days with one post.

Well, I guess he was feeling short-changed with only one post. He wanted both.

Here's what happened after yesterday's post...

When I watched the youtube video I posted I wondered (just briefly in passing) why I didn't have a shot of him in front of the Vambo wall. I distinctly remembered the show - all his theatrics but then I thought I must have missed it because I was shooting the guitar player. Oh well. At least I have pictures of him. In some cases I have few or none. (You have no idea how depressed I am about that).

This morning, I hit the office and decide to do some scanning while working on my script rewrite. I like it when I can multi-task. I check my list to see who I haven't scanned yet. Ah, Stanley Turrentine. I'm pretty sure there is a box of slides with his name on it in THE BOX. I look in THE BOX. There it is...a little slide case with a masking tape label that reads STANLEY TURRENTINE. Wait a second. What's this? Right next to Stanley? A bigger slide box that's labeled ALEX HARVEY. How can that be? I already scanned Alex's slides.

I pull the box out. Check the contents. Lo and behold, it's Alex Harvey. 19 more slides. How did those get there? And why did I happen to check THE BOX today? I haven't been in THE BOX for several weeks. I scan them. Here is one of the shots I thought I should have...

It's Alex Harvey's birthday today. And in true Alex Harvey fashion, he gave me a present. Thank you, Alex. I hope they're throwing you one helluva party up there.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Sensational Alex Harvey

I'm guessing most of you have never heard of Alex Harvey. Can I see a show of hands?

And I'm wondering if anyone who reads this blog ever saw The Sensational Alex Harvey Band play live.


Well, he was sensational. Like nothing I'd seen before. The guy knew how to put on a show and he was sweet as can be to boot.

Like so many of the musicians I am paying tribute to in my book, Alex Harvey died in close proximity to his date of birth. Actually, I think his deathday and birthday are the closest. Today marks the 15th anniversary of his death, and had he lived, tomorrow would have been his 72nd birthday.

This is what he was doing at the Troubadour in late 1975...

February 5, 1935 - February 4, 1982

And since you probably haven't seen him live, here's a taste:

This is from the same tour I shot. I think he's even wearing the same shirt.